Our Geography Curriculum

Geography Intent

At Birches First School we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum at Birches First enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas, and which can and are used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge, and skills. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources, and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. The children are taught mapping skills in each year group where they use atlases to apply and develop their skills. The curriculum is designed to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive, as well as transferable, throughout their time at Birches First School and to their further education and beyond.

Through their work in geography, children will learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with other regions in the United Kingdom, Europe and in the wider world and how these can change over time. Children learn how to draw and interpret maps as they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures.

We want geography at Birches to inspire and motivate children to be curious and fascinated about the world around them, allowing children to recognise the importance of diversity, people, landscapes, and resources of the natural and human environments, deepening their understanding of physical and human processes.

Our aim at Birches is to enable children to:

  • Develop their geographical and fieldwork skills through first hand observations and experiences of environments and landscapes.
  • Increase children’s knowledge and understanding of different cultures and traditions, in doing so this will teach a respect and understanding of how the places we live in can be similar or different, more importantly what it means to be a positive global citizen living in a multi-cultural country and how places change and develop over time
  • To develop subject specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography
  • To develop children’s enquiry skills, problem solving, ICT and presenting their conclusions, communicating geographical information in a variety of ways.
  • To develop place and location knowledge, learning graphic skills; focusing on understanding how to use, read and draw maps, interpret them and atlases.


Geography Implementation

Geography is about understanding the world by comparing locations; investigating; researching different sources; writing and talking about places; asking and answering questions. Our aim is to ignite an excitement for and curiosity about our wider world.

Our concepts have a geography base so that we teach location and place knowledge, weather and climate skills and knowledge and about significant historical events, people and places in our own locality. Our concepts also provide further opportunities to learn about people and cultures. A timetable of trips supports pupils’ learning and enhances the curriculum as part of our long-term planning. Teachers ensure children develop an understanding of the subjects within their concepts and the skills they are developing/using.

At Birches we encourage out children to ask geographical questions and focus on enquiry-based research activities. We offer children the opportunities to use a wide range of data and sources such as mas, atlases, graphs, pictures, photos and allow them to have opportunities of using the Ipads and computers to enhance their learning to conduct their own research. Children are also given the opportunity to take part I role plays and class discussions, they then present this to the whole class for example a child who is going to roleplay as a weather reporter in front of the class. We feel this helps to build key skills that are needed for the wider world, even for future employment. Children are encouraged to take part in problem solving activities, they are involved in ‘real’ geographical activities and use their knowledge and skills purposefully e.g. looking at and investigating current issues that affect the local environment.

We understand and recognise that there are children with widely different geographical abilities in all the classes, however we provide suitable differentiated learning opportunities for all children by making sure that the work is accessible to the ability of the child in every  lesson.

We follow the National Curriculum for the basis of our curriculum planning. Our concepts studied in geography are planned to build upon prior learning throughout the years to ensure there is progression from EYFS to year 4. Whilst we offer w wide range of opportunities for children to develop their knowledge and skills, we also build planned progression into our scheme of work, this way children are challenged and develop their vocabulary and knowledge as they move up the years through our school. Our progression of skills and key vocabulary are used at Birches which purposefully and carefully sequence the national curriculum content for geography in ways that take account of prior learning and develop it further.


Throughout the concepts, teachers will use Assessment for Learning to judge how children are progressing against Age Related Expectations. We use insight to record data on and evidence achievement of the National Curriculum expectations and support judgements of ‘working towards’, ‘expected’ and ‘exceeding’. We look at key skills and understanding against the National Curriculum for age related expectations.  We use Insight to record data for where children are and this should show progress as they go through the years.

Parents, carers and the wider community

Parents and carers are always welcome at Birches First and we strive to work alongside our community to benefit the lives and learning of our children. We work with our children and parents alike to ensure they are aware of what the children are learning and the themes in school. Furthermore, we offer learning together days throughout the academic year for parents to join their children in lessons to work together on areas within the national curriculum.


Staff and pupils have access to a range of resources to enable learning to happen at any time and in any place. We use Ipads, laptops to conduct online research. We use maps, atlases and Geographical books to allow children to find and enquire their questioning. Children also use blooms taxonomy to develop their own questioning stems allowing them to conduct their own research and find the answers to their curiosity and inquisitiveness.

Geography and fundamental British Values and SMSC

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development – links may be made with Religious Education as well as children being encouraged to reflect on their place within the world and its’ history. Through discussion about past events and events happening in the world around us children are encouraged to consider their responsibilities to the world and how their actions (like the actions of others) could have an impact – positive or negative. Discussions and exploration of topics encourage children to understand other people’s points of views and this skill can positively impact on a child’s social skill and understanding. We seek to broaden children’s horizons by igniting in them a passion for the world and its rich history. This is particularly supported by the range of rich, hands on experiences offered to children. (Themed days, visitors, school trips).

Geography Curriculum planning

Our medium-term plans follow the national curriculum aims and give details of each unit of work for each term. We plan the geography using the national curriculum, the lessons all revisit childrens prior knowledge not just from previous lessons but from previous years. Using our progression of skills children in each year have the oppoorutnity to develop their skills and  key vocabulary.

We each geography in Early years classes starting a nursery where children begin by understanding people who help them and out and about which entails children to  explore their route around school and describe  the school environment, also looking into places they have visited whilst on holiday or ones they are familiar with. Children look at their special times by locating their home on map and also bring in photos to compete discussions. Following on from this in Reception children are taught to identify things they see on their route to school and what s around them e.g. fire station, police station, medical centre etc.. Children explore maps and atlases and identify countries on a map further more identifying whether somewhere is near or far and looking at the different celebrations around the world.

In Year 1 children begin to compare and contrast local fieldwork and begin to look at the weather in the UK, as well as Identifying how their lives would be different if they lived in Kenya. In Year 2 our children are taught about being in the same country (United kingdom) but how our lives can still be very different, looking at out London our capital city. Children are taught about the seven continent and the world’s oceans also learning the importance of oceans and where our food comes from. In year 2 children learn all about Australia and how our climate is different to Australia’s. Children research the deserts, rainforests and wildlife and compare it with their own lives thinking about where in Australia they would most like to live.

In year 3 at Birches children start to really focus on their mapping skills in detail and explore how our local area has changed over time, they look at how to make directions more accurate using ordinal compass points and grid references. In Year 3 children learn about earthquakes and volcanoes and what impact the natural disasters have on the world around us and what causes these to happen. Children are taught about countries in Europe such as Italy and why the leaning tower of Pisa became such a significant landmark, making our historical links throughout.

In year 4 children investigate the water cycle, the weather and climate and understand why the weather changes and what impacts the weather. They learn to understand why we have seasons and why the world’s weather changes. They explore the rivers and canals, thinking about what impacts the waterways have on the lives of people, they do a local study on Ironbridge, the canal network and the black country. In year 4 our geographers look into South America (Brazil) they investigate how Brazil is different to the UK, where in the world Brazil is, what life is like there and explore the importance of protecting the Amazon rainforest.

Children are taught Substantive knowledge of locations, places, human and physical features and disciplinary knowledge, the different skills our children at Birches develop to make sense of the world around them, by using maps and carrying out investigations of the local area. The competence of geographical enquiry and h application of skills by observing collecting and evaluating the geographical information and carrying out their own studies and sharing their ideas and findings with others.

Equal opportunities

All children at Birches have equal access to the Geography Curriculum, regardless of their gender, socio-economic background, ethnicity or special educational needs. In advance to this, teaching will take into account the age, ability, readiness, and cultural backgrounds of children and those with English as an additional language] to ensure that all can fully access geography education provision. There will be purposeful differentiation and drawing on the expertise from the subject leader and teachers.

Geography Impact

At Birches we aim to teach our children an understanding of the environments, places and people. An understanding of how diverse our world is and teach them about their local area and the wider community. Outcomes in books, evidence a broad and balanced Geographical curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. Children review the agreed successes at the end of every session and are actively encouraged to identify their own target areas, with support from their teachers. Children also record what they have learned comparative to their starting points at the end of every topic.
Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking and questioning which helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Through this study pupils learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. We want our teaching to have an impact where children are curious, and have an interest and inquisitiveness to find out more about our planet, we want them to become better geographers.